Tag Archives: kids

Teachers, Tuesdays and Thankfulness

I’m fairly confident that we’re not all going to make to Tuesday based solely on this day alone.

I’ve been called names, spit at, kicked at and shoved out of the way. I’ve been hugged, cuddled, praised and given beautiful drawings. It is just one massive mess of boredom, excitement and loose ends around here.

We are officially “a mess” and WE are all very much ready for school to start.

I may tease about wanting to get rid of my kids and getting them out of my hair, but in all honesty, they’re more excited about going back to class than I am. (Barely, but they are).

They’re ready to see their friends, show off their new clothes and their pretty pink hair. There are girls to be chased and a final year of high school to be tackled. A new bus route and new friends. Volleyball, Basketball and Phys. Ed. It is time.

I’ve prepared them for the new year, and they are pretty much ready to be handed over to their teachers. But before I do that, I’ve got a few things to say.

First I must apologize for not getting every single thing on their school supply lists. I’m pretty sure some of those items are not even real, but anyways.  The soles of their runners are white though, so hopefully that’ll give me some bonus points. We labelled everything including ALL of their markers, shoes, bags, lunch kits and the 300 duo tangs. I promise to send no peanut butter anything, but I make no guarantee’s that their lunches will be healthy, all the time. They will usually be clean, and may or may not have socks on. But they will be there every morning awake, fed and ready for the day.

Secondly, I want to thank you. Thank-you for being their guide when I’m not there. Thank-you for keeping them alive. Thank-you for teaching them the things that I have no patience to even attempt. Thank-you for recognizing their positives when sometimes it’s easier to focus on negatives. Thank-you for taking the time to change these little lives every day. Thank-you for giving me 8 hours of peace and quiet daily.

I truly couldn’t do what I do, without you. You are loved and appreciated more than you’ll ever know. Please, never forget that, especially when I forget to send in all of their permission slips and school fees on time.  🙂

Here’s to another awesome year. C’mon Tuesday.

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This post is part of the 30 Day Blogging Challenge. If you want to follow along with all of us “challengers”, click on their links below. 

Liam ~ Natasha ~ Zita ~ MagzD ~ Peter ~ Christine ~ Cliff ~ Hethr ~ Tracy

Everyday, Ordinary People

As most of you know, my husband and I are foster parents and have been for the last 13 years or so. We’ve had over 20 kids enter our lives and that number continues to grow.  My parents started fostering when I was 12 years old so I’ve also been blessed to have many foster brothers and sisters to call my own. This has been my “story” for the past 28 years and frankly it’s all I know.

People tell me all the time that the job we do is amazing. How much they admire us, and how they could never do what we do. I’ve heard that the world needs more people like us. That we must have the patience of saints. People thank us, congratulate us and pat us on the back.

But here’s what I have to say to all of that.

We are no different from anyone else … we just chose to try.

What we’re doing isn’t rocket science, or anything that’s really all that out of the ordinary. We are parenting the exact same way but with extras. We are still the same parents as we were before they moved in. We are exactly like you.

Our lives are so not perfect, just like yours. We have really, really bad days, just like you. We pray for more patience, more income and more free time in our days. We laugh, we cry and we have complete and total meltdowns. Just like you.

We have struggles and challenges that are “different from yours, but that’s all they are, they’re different. We see hurts and pain up close and personal, but we’re all surrounded by that, we just don’t always notice. We have more bodies sitting around the table at meal times, but who doesn’t like having company over? Our world is quite often chaotic, but isn’t yours? We just call it for what it is….Life.

Being a foster parent isn’t something reserved for a “special kind of person”, it’s a journey worth considering. It truly is an honour and a privilege to be able to say that I’m someone’s Mom. And in my case, those blessings are many.

If you’re even remotely considering giving it a try, send me a message. I’d love to help you make a difference. All it takes is everyday, ordinary people willing to give kids a chance. Are you that person?

This post is part of the 30 Day Blogging Challenge. If you want to follow along with all of us “challengers”, click on their links below.

Liam ~ Natasha ~ Zita ~ MagzD ~ Peter ~ Christine ~ Cliff ~ Hethr ~ Tracy

12 More Sleeps

Summer is such a lovely time.

Sunshine, rainbows and children filled with joyfulness and glee. Mother’s bonding with their children and enjoying all of the freedom that no school brings. Playdates with friends and trips camping at the lake. Making s’mores at the campfire and running through the sprinkler. Perfect, family awesomeness.

It sounds heavenly doesn’t it? And thankfully, that is exactly what my summer was like. Exactly.

Minutes turned into hours – hours into days – days into weeks and two months later, I’ve had all of the joy that one Mother could ever handle. My family happiness meter is filled to the top, and I’m ready to share my little bundles of joy with others. I’m willing to let them go so they can bless others.

Over the summer, their “skill” levels increased dramatically. They can now “sing” at the tops of their lungs for hours at a time. Perfect for music class. They can run for hours and hours, without seemingly needing a break and just might be your next track stars in the making. They’re also ready for walks in the wilderness as they figured out how to leave little trails of stuff wherever they go. I can rest easily knowing that you won’t lose them in the woods. They’ve also learned a lot about things being fair, and have reminded me on numerous occasions just how much they appreciate my teaching them all about that. And most importantly, they’ve had many “sharing sessions” over the past two months, and have “bonded” over toys and team building. It’s been quite inspirational actually. And now they’re ready to share their skills with you.

You’re welcome world. The Wiener Five are ready for school, and hopefully you’re ready for them cause ready or not, they’re coming. 12 more sleeps.

Enjoy them, I most certainly have.

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This is Day Two of the 30 Day Blogging Challenge. If you want to do some awesome reading … follow along with all of us “challengers”.

Liam ~ Natasha ~ Zita ~ MagzD ~ Peter ~ Christine ~ Cliff ~ Hethr ~ Tracy

Rocks in the River

Growing up in my house was different. Not different bad, “just” different.

My parents started fostering when I was 12 years old, and because of that, things were quite often, really crazy. Sometimes we’d have 8 kids living under one roof, and chaos quite often did ensue. There was lots of laughing, story telling and fun. But more often than not, there was a whole lot of loud, whiny and complaining children.

Obviously, that kind of busyness and that many little bodies from different walks of life, needed things to run “differently”, and that is where my parents excelled. My Dad was crazy but my Mom was his level-headed balance that kept us all alive. Literally.  🙂

My Dad spent many years working for different marketing companies, doing motivational speaking and encouraging people to reach higher and do better. A part of that involved putting different and unique plans and tools in place and naturally, he brought some of those things home to us.

If we got lippy or rude, we had to do push-ups or sit-ups. We had to write out “lines” saying positive statements. We were given the Think and Grow Rich and the Richest Man in Babylon books as presents. AND we were expected to read them. We had to write out the hours that we spent doing chores or helping out around the house, if they weren’t written down, we didn’t get credit for them. We had water fights IN the house, and had to listen to my Dad’s “mix-tape” that played NOTHING but Don’t Worry be Happy when we went on family vacations. We stopped at EVERY tourist attraction on our way to anywhere. We were led up on cliffs and waterfalls while my Mother screamed at my Father.

We were also “dragged” and I say dragged because none of us were excited to be going, to see different motivational speakers. I saw Anthony Robbins, Zig Ziglar and Brian Tracy, all before I was 16 years old. There were “positive thinking” signs ALL OVER our house. My Dad would write sayings out on poster board and tape them all over the place for us to see everyday. He installed speakers in our bedrooms and bathrooms, and we would wake up every morning to the Zig Ziglar, “Born to Win” soundtrack. Every morning. To this day, I can still hear those words in my head. There was always something new to encourage us and lift us up. It never ended.

Now back to the whining and complaining. I believe I was about 13 years old when my parents had, had enough and put a plan into place. We had no idea what was going on, but my Dad had us all invite our best friends along and hauled us all down to the river bottom for a picnic. When we got there, we had a great time eating and playing with our friends, and then my Dad got weird again. By now, we were very much used to his strange games and stories so when he asked us to go and find the biggest rocks that we could carry, we did it. Without question.

Needless to say, we all managed to find some huge rocks and hauled them back to the picnic site. We all sat down, and were given felt markers and crayons and were instructed to write the words “I Can’t” on our rock. We all rolled our eyes but did it. He then told us to decorate them and make the rocks beautiful. We did. Once they were all beautified and complete, he said, “pick them up, we’re going to the bridge”. We all did some serious complaining as we had all found the biggest stinking rocks we could carry, and “the bridge” was at the top of a steep hill. And we were at the bottom of it.

It took awhile to get our little wagon train of whiny and complaining rock yielding children up the hillside but we did it. Once we were up there, he asked what our rocks said, and we all screamed, “I can’t”. And without much ado, he said, throw them over the edge and into the river. Our initial response was heck no as we had just hauled them up what was basically a mountain and now he wanted us to just throw them away. Why would we do such a thing …. but we did.

Once we watched them all crash into the river and fought over whose rock made the biggest splash, he told us to be quiet and listen. Then he spoke the words that I will never forget. He said, “I can’t is no longer alive at our house. As of this moment, it is dead. If you say it, it will be ignored. You may use other words such as I won’t, I don’t want to, or I don’t know how, but you cannot say I CAN’T”. We all looked at him, laughed and giggled and agreed and ran back down the hill to tell Mom what our crazy Dad just made us do. She just smiled and nodded.

Well, we went home and life went on as usual. The fighting and complaining started and so did the “I can’ts. But this time, my parents were ignoring us. We’d be screaming I can’t, and they would just stare at us and smile. Let me tell you, your hissy fit loses a lot of its steam when you have to stop and change what you’re saying to “I don’t want to” and realizing that you were just basically being a whiny baby. We kept trying the I can’ts for a couple of months, but we eventually gave up. CAN’T really had died, and 100% without question, it made a significant difference in our lives.

That one simple trip to the river showed us that anything WAS possible because failure was no longer an option. At the time, we were all sure that there was something really wrong with my Father, but now we get it. That positive attitude made us into the people that we are today, and frankly, I CAN’T is still dead in all of our lives. My life growing up may have been really different or weird, but I wouldn’t change it for anything. Thanks Mom & Dad.

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S is for September

September. It truly is the most wonderful time of the year, and I for one, cannot wait for its arrival.

And before you all think I’m mean and don’t like my kids, shush. I love my children very much, and just as they love me more when I buy them nice presents, I love them more when they’re in school. I will admit, when they were younger it was harder to send them off to school. Now  …. not so much.

Frankly, they like it too. They love being with their friends all day, playing on school sports teams and not having a long list of chores. They also miss the routine that I am so desperately craving. There’s something secure and comforting about knowing exactly what you need to be doing at any given time. When they’re busy, they’re not in trouble. I like busy children.

September is also my January. My “new year” always begins on September 1st as my life revolves around the children anyways. It’s a great time to start new things. Going on a diet, heading to the gym and getting your house in order are all perfect September activities. We ‘re already helping our kids be successful and teaching them to start their year off on a good foot, why not do the same for ourselves?

January is just the half-way point of the year and it’s the time we have to send more pencils, erasers and kleenex to school. It’s not a good time for changing anything, especially since you’re too fat from Christmas anyways. If you start changes in September … they’re a lot easier to stick to come to December. That’s my theory anyways.

The arrival of September means that Fall is soon on it’s way and that the hot weather is over. I don’t like being hot. At all. I love Fall, changing leaves, cooler temps,  jeans and sweatshirts and cooking in a crockpot. It also means new socks for everyone as August 30th is the bi-annual “throwing away of the lonely and ugly socks” day.  Good-bye to the stinky, holey and un-matched socks … hello to new white clean ones.

It also means it’s time for my shoppping pilgrimmage to Target, Kohls, TJ Maxx, Big Lots and Ross. I get to eat biscuits and gravy for breakfast and go to Old Country Buffet for lunch. (Not exactly sure how I’m going to make those 2 experiences gluten-free, but I sure am going to try). I will fill my motorhome with $2 boxes of cereal, shoes and whatever else calls my name at The Dollar Tree. It really is a blessed event, and one of the best weeks in Fall.

So .. as September draws closer, please know that I won’t be crying at the door as my children head off to the bus. I will be shoving them out the door with their new backpacks and $100 calculators and waving good-bye. As soon as I’m done singing and rejoicing, I’ll probably have a little nap and then celebrate the start of the new year.

Aaaaah. September.

This post is Day 21 of the Summer Blog Challenge – 31 posts in 31 Days

Please visit my fellow challenge bloggers and read their stories.

Meaghan at Magz D Life
Tam at Tam I Am
Liam at In The Now
Jessica at2plus2X2

Just a Mom.

I was 20 years old when I met my future husband. I had never lived by myself or with friends, and in fact, still lived with my parents. I’d never attended college or been anywhere farther east than Saskatchewan. I was a daughter and a sister, and most certainly not even considering becoming a mother.  Almost exactly one year later, I married my best friend. I was now a wife.

We moved to a new city, 5 hours away from everything I knew. I had no friends, no job and no idea what I was going to “be when I grew up”. I can remember the quietness of my new house and it made me insane. I had left a household of 8 people and had become a family of 2. I had to leave the TV on all the time just so I could have background noise and didn’t have to talk to myself. I was young and in love, a little unsure of myself and kinda lost, but I was happy. And then I was a Mom.

I fell madly in love with this little person. She filled my days with joy, smiles and giggles. She made my nights sleepless and seemingly never-ending. She made me happy and I was so proud to call her mine. As she grew and my life changed, something inside of me was awakening. I was surrounded by children, some mine, and some that were loaned to me to parent. I was still happily married to a very good man. I had a very good life, but something was missing.

I can remember sitting there and thinking about all of the things that I hadn’t done in my life. I hadn’t lived on my own. I’d never gone to school. I’d never gone off to see the world and experience fun and exciting things. I had never just been “me”, as in me, myself and I. I had become someone else. I was Just. A. Mom.

For some reason that terrified me. Was that all I was ever going to be? Would that be the only thing people remembered me for? Why wasn’t that good enough? Why did I “need” to be more than that? Suddenly I was questioning everything about myself and all that I knew, and then, I woke up.

Yes, I am a Mother, but I most certainly am not “Just a Mom”.

I am responsible for helping little people become all that they think they can be, and then a little bit more. I am quite possibly raising a future world leader. I am teaching my children about equality and respect and grace. I am showing them that nobody is better than anyone else. I am giving them the confidence to stand up for themselves and the people around them. I am lifting them up when the world beats them down. I am rescuing children from horrible circumstances and giving them a brighter future. I am making promises to love them and support them in whatever they choose to do or wherever they choose to go. I am preparing them for the hard decisions that they will have to make. I am giving them my words when they don’t have their own. I am molding and shaping the gifts that God gave me. I am changing the world.

I have the hardest, scariest, toughest, most exciting, fun and fulfilling job ever. I get no pay, no vacation or sick days. I have many awesome days and just as many horrible ones. I witness life changing moments. I am unconditonally loved even when I don’t always deserve it. I get to laugh and cry and tell stupid jokes.  I have been blessed with something that many women will never get the joy of experiencing. Who am I to question the value of what I do? I am a very blessed woman and a darn good Mom.

So, to all the “Just a Moms”, the Mom’s to be and the Mom’s that want nothing more than just have the opportunity to try. Never, ever doubt your worth. Never, ever question your role and the importance that it carries. Never look back and question “what if”? You are exactly where you’re supposed to be, cherish it and enjoy the ride. Happy Mothers Day to all of you!

I’m a Mom and I’m not Perfect.

I’m pretty sure that I knew being a Mom wouldn’t be all sunshine and rainbows, but I kinda hoped that it would be. I quickly figured out that my days would be filled with smiles and laughter. Hissy-fits and tears. Sleepless nights AND sleepless days. Memories and Milestones.  I knew that it was going to be hard, but I still hung on to the hope that I was going to be the perfect Mom.

I would watch the Mom’s on TV that sat with their children and did craft projects and sang songs all day, and thought that I should maybe give that a try. I was going to be the Mom of children that didn’t watch television all day and instead learned things through guided play and life experiences. I’d heard of people who had babies potty trained by the time they were one, that had never drank from a bottle and had never seen a soother.  I had great plans to be the Martha Stewart of Mommy’s and make everything from scratch, and wear pretty clothes and just love everyone all the time. And then I had children. Suffice it to say, I am no Martha.

As I look back on my 16 years of Mommyhood, I have many regrets and many situations that I’d like to do over. I wasn’t always sensitive and understanding when I should’ve been. I’ve had expectations that were too high, and expectations that weren’t high enough. I’ve sometimes forgotten that my kids are just kids, and have treated them like adults. I’ve been a screaming idiot, and I’ve handed out a silent treatment or two. I have not always been perfect, or anywhere near it really. But through it all, I did the best that I knew how to do at that time. I’ve had to let go of the guilt that I’ve carried for messing things up sometimes and not becoming the Mom that I had aspired to be. My kids are all healthy, happy and alive, so I know I did something right, somewhere. It may have been a messy journey, but I’ve got some great kids.

So, in honour of all of you that have had some non-perfect days, I give you this. It’s my tribute to you … the real Mom’s living through real problems, real flip-outs and real life. Hopefully my little list of crazy will help you feel better about where you’re at right now. Please stop being so hard on yourself, do the best that you know how and breathe.

Here it goes … do not judge me.

My daughter did in fact learn the alphabet and her colors from watching Barney. And quite possibly Wheel of Fortune. (Something about that spinning wheel made her very happy).

I may have thrown a bottle at a crib in the middle of the night because I was too tired to walk all the way to the bed. I may have actually thrown two bottles.

I have sent children to school with no socks and/or no underwear. And quite possibly without both at the same time. Those same children may have also knowingly been sent to school without coats, gloves, boots, etc, etc. Even when it was -20.

Every meal does not have vegetables. More than once a week.

There is WAY more sugar-coated, red dyed cereal in this house than healthy stuff. And cookies that have NOT been made by me.

My 9 month old has bounced her little bouncy chair right off the cupboard onto the floor. She survived.

My daughter ate nothing but Sweet Potatoes and Tutti Fruiti baby food from a jar for almost a year. She did turn kinda orangey. She may have also had an addiction to gripe water.

I did try to catch my falling toddler by the ankle which in fact made him fall harder. He may have knocked his front tooth out at 11 months.

I pierced my daughter with a safety pin. I promise you I cried WAY harder than she did.

Children will survive on hot dogs and dill pickles. And peanut butter on a spoon.

When my daughter was 3, I took her bottle away while we were on vacation by telling her that we forgot it at home. I may have also hid girls clothes in the boys section just so she’d wear something beside track pants. I think I may have lied to tricked her quite a few times over the years.

I may have left a trail of fruit snacks from my children’s bedroom door to the TV so I could sleep in. I may have also left the TV turned on all night so they wouldn’t have to wake me up to put it on the right channel.

I might have convinced my children that if they ran away in public that bad people would steal them.

I have played hide and seek with my kids with full intentions of not looking for them. Thankfully, they loved that game.

I have taken my children to Ikea for the free childcare.